Altare della Patria

This dazzling monument to the Unification of Italy dominates the skyline of Rome.

TravelCurious Tip

Take the elevator at the side all the way to the top of the building and see how many famous Roman monuments you can pick out on the skyline.

Father of the fatherland

The Altare della Patria (‘The Altar of the Fatherland’), also known as the National Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II or ‘Il Vittoriano,’ is an enormous, striking building in the centre of Rome, commemorating the unification of Italy by Vittorio Emanuele, the first king of the new country. The monument is located beside Trajan’s Forum, just down the road from the Roman Forum and the Colosseum.

Situated near the heart of the old Roman Empire, standing 81 meters tall and covering 17,000 square metres, the building demands attention. Its location, impressive size and intricate design all call to mind the aesthetic grandeur of Rome’s glorious past. Although the monument was not completed until 1925, its white columned façade and huge mythological figures in stone and bronze give Il Vittoriano the appearance of a building plucked straight from the Roman Empire.

Vittorio and the victories

Visitors can enter for free and take in stunning views of the surrounding city from the columned terrace atop the steps. There is also an elevator which can be accessed at the side of the building which allows visitors to go right to the top of the monument, and a Museum of Italian Unification at the bottom.

In front of the building is a giant equestrian statue of Emanuele himself, symbolising his strength and leadership. This is mounted above a sculpture of the goddess Roma, who is a modern creation modelled on ancient Rome’s patron goddess of battle and wisdom, Minerva. Beneath her is the Tomb of an Unknown Soldier, which commemorates those lost in World War I; Roma holds an eternal flame for them, which is kept under guard. High above, flanking both sides of the rooftop are two statues of Victory riding four-horse chariots. The monument is not only a shrine to Emanuele but to Rome itself, past, present and future.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Rome
Capitoline Museums
Yet another stunning museum of ancient art, in two Michelangelo-designed palaces.
Capitoline Hill
The ceremonial centre of ancient Rome, rejuvenated by Michelangelo in the Renaissance and offering amazing views over the Forum.
Trajan's Forum and Column
One of the more impressive Forums in the area, with a beautiful triumphal column.
Mamertine Prison
Known in antiquity as the Tullianum, the dungeons were used to hold Saint Paul before he was beheaded.
Il Vittoriano
Looking for unbeatable views of Rome? Travel to the top of the Altar of the Fatherland museum for unparalleled vistas of the capital.
Piazza Venezia
Is one of the main squares in Rome and takes its name from the Palazzo Venezia, built by the Venetian Cardinal, Pietro Barbo alongside the church of Saint Mark.

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